A Call to Action – Update #4

“There is no longer any such thing as fiction or non-fiction: there’s only narrative.” E.L. Doctorow

Mr. Doctorow could be right. I’m not sure, but as promised I will outline my recommendations for the non-fiction reads I’ve enjoyed in the latter part of 2016. Before I do that I’d like to give you an update about our fundraising campaign. This will be the last update and push before the New Year. Christmas is a good time to take a break, don’t you think? I will be back at the beginning of 2017 with a final drive toward our fundraising goal of $30,000 for the Whistler Writers Festival.

Thanks again to those of you who have already donated to our cause. We have now received some $8,000 in donations.

Any amount helps. And donations of $25 and over will receive an electronic tax receipt in the name of the donor. You can donate on our gofundmesite. And if you’d like to watch a very quick video of the 2016 festival, check out this video. Or watch videos of our other programs here.

So now onto my recommendations for non-fiction reads.

The Next 100 Years by George Friedman. In his book, Mr. Friedman tries to forecast some of the major socio-political events he thinks will happen in the next 100 years. He doesn’t mention Canada or the EU, and instead focuses on the US, Turkey, Japan and Mexico, noting they will each grow and dominate in their regions. An interesting read although none of it bodes well for the world overall. And personally I like to think humanity is smarter, although I may have been proven wrong this year with the results of the American presidential elections.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This book delves into how habits are formed and changed. Great read, lots of wonderful stories and accounts that reinforce Mr. Duhigg’s conclusions.

A Disappearance in Damascus by Deborah Campbell. Winner of the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-Fiction, Ms. Campbell was one of our festival’s guest authors this year. In Syria, prior to the civil war, Ms. Campbell, a journalist, befriends her “fixer” Ahlam, who later disappears. I loved the brutal honesty and candour of this book. I’ve often wondered how journalists go into war zones, how they deal with what they are seeing, experiencing. Ms. Campbell gives us a glimpse into that vulnerable experience.

Work Book by Steven Heighton. Dispatches and meditations about writing. There are some wonderful insights and perspective about the writing life in this tiny book. This should be on the reading list for all writers.  

Red Notice by Bill Browder. This book reads like a spy novel. Mr. Browder sets up an investment company in Russia and all goes well until it doesn’t anymore. He escapes the country by the skin of his teeth, but his Russian lawyer, who believes in the justice system in his country and the innocence of his client, is imprisoned and tortured to death. Mr. Browder goes to extraordinary lengths to get answers and justice for his lawyer and friend. The book is a suspenseful and inspiring read.

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